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The changing year's successive plan
Proclaims mortality to man;
Rough winter's blasts to spring give way,
Spring yields to summer's sov'reign ray;
Then summer sinks in autumn's reign,
And winter chills the world again;
Her losses soon the moon supplies,
But wretched man, when once he lies,
Where Priam and his sons are laid,
Is nought but ashes and a shade.
Who knows if Jove, who counts our score,
Will toss us in a morning more?
What with your friend you nobly share
At least you rescue from your heir.
Not you, Torquatus, boast of Rome,
When Minos once has fix'd your doom,
Or eloquence, or splendid birth,
Or virtue, shall restore to earth.
Hippolytus, unjustly slain,
Diana calls to life in vain;
Nor can the might of Theseus rend
The chains of Hell that hold his friend.
The following Translations, Parodies, and Burlesque Verses, most of them extempore, are taken from Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson, lately published by Mrs. Piozzi.
LOVELY courier of the sky,
Whence and whither dost thou fly?
Scatt'ring, as thy pinions play,
Liquid fragrance all the way:
Is it business? is it love?
Tell me, tell me, gentle dove.
Soft Anacreon's vows I bear,
Vows to Myrtale the fair;
Grac'd with all that charms the heart,
Blushing nature, smiling art.
Venus, courted by an ode,
On the bard her dove bestow'd:
Vested with a master's right,
Now Anacreon rules my flight;
His the letters that you see,
Weighty charge, consign'd to me:
Think not yet my service hard,
Joyless task without reward;
Smiling at my master's gates,
Freedom my return awaits;
But the lib'ral grant in vain
Tempts me to be wild again.
Can a prudent dove decline
Blissful bondage such as mine?
Over hills and fields to roam,
Fortune's guest without a home;
Under leaves to hide one's head,
Slightly shelter'd, coarsely fed:
Now my better lot bestows
Sweet repast, and soft repose;
Now the gen'rous bowl I sip
As it leaves Anacreon's lip:
Void of care, and free from dread,
From his fingers snatch his bread;
Then, with luscious plenty gay,
Round his chamber dance and play;
Or from wine, as courage springs,
O'er his face extend my wings;
And when feast and frolic tire,
Drop asleep upon his lyre.
This is all, be quick and go,
More than all thou canst not know;
Let me now my pinions ply,
I have chatter'd like a pye.
WRITTEN IN RIDICULE OF CERTAIN POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1777.
WHERESOE'ER I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new;
Endless labour all along,
Endless labour to be wrong;
Phrase that time hath flung away,
Uncouth words in disarray,
Trick'd in antique ruff and bonnet,
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.
FROM THE MEDEA OF EURIPIDES.
ERR shall they not, who resolute explore
Times gloomy backward with judicious eyes;
And, scanning right the practices of yore,
Shall deem our hoar progenitors unwise.
They to the dome where Smoke with curling play
Announc'd the dinner to the regions round,
Summon'd the singer blithe, and harper gay,
And aided wine with dulcet-streaming sound.
The better use of notes, or sweet or shrill,
By quiv'ring string or modulated wind;
Trumpet or lyre-to their harsh bosoms chill
Admission ne'er had sought, or could not find.
Oh! send them to the sullen mansions dun,
Her baleful eyes where Sorrow rolls around;
Where gloom-enamour'd Mischief loves to dwell,
And Murder, all blood-bolter'd, schemes the
When cates luxuriant pile the spacious dish,
And purple nectar glads the festive hour;
The guest, without a want, without a wish,
Can yield no room to musick's soothing pow'r
OF THE TWO FIRST STANZAS OF THE SONG
RIO VERDE," PRINTED IN BISHOP PERCY'S RELIQUES OF
ANCIENT ENGLISH POETRY. AN IMPROMPTU.
GLASSY water, glassy water,
Down whose current, clear and strong,
Chiefs confus'd in mutual slaughter,
Moor and Christian, roll along.
IMITATION OF THE STYLE OF ****.
HERMIT hoar, in solemn cell
Wearing out life's evening grey,
Strike thy bosom, sage, and tell
What is bliss, and which the way.
Thus I spoke, and speaking sigh'd,
Scarce repress'd the starting tear,
When the hoary sage reply'd,
Come, my lad, and drink some beer.